Sending heavy weapons to Ukraine, a new turning point in the war

Sending heavy weapons to Ukraine, a new turning point in the war

The shipment of heavy weapons to Ukraine, assumed for a few days by a growing number of Western countries, is a new turning point in the conflict which started on February 24. While during the first phase of the war, European and American support was limited – at least publicly – to sending fuel, protective equipment, ammunition, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, and In the name of the risk of being considered as co-belligerents, a switch has taken place in recent days towards more offensive equipment, such as howitzers, tanks, armored vehicles and helicopters.

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If the first wave of arms deliveries was decisive in hampering the initial Russian “special operation” in kyiv, the qualitative leap of the West corresponds to a double objective: on the one hand to restore the capacities of the Ukrainians after an initial phase where , despite very little information made public on the state of their forces, they suffered significant losses in men and equipment; on the other hand, to provide the troops in kyiv with the means to repel the Russian offensive in the Donbass, to ultimately ” to win “ war, the ambition displayed by the United States, during the meeting organized on Tuesday April 26 at their military base in Ramstein, Germany.

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Moscow has decided to concentrate its war efforts in eastern Ukraine to, at the very least, finalize its grip on the Donbass area, or even deprive Ukraine of its access to the Sea of ​​Azov for good. “The challenge is really to avoid collapse” Ukrainians, summarizes Léo Péria-Peigné, specialist in armament issues at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).

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“Giving mobility to Ukrainians”

Several categories of heavy weapons have been sent or should be sent soon. The first is howitzers. While the conflict is currently moving towards a war of positions, with a relatively delimited front, these guns make it possible to fire powerful and precise charges up to several tens of kilometers away (sometimes 40 km). These howitzers can be towed or self-propelled. The Netherlands, Estonia, the Czech Republic, France, with its Caesar guns, and, above all, the United States have announced the shipment. The American effort is particularly significant since it reaches the number of 90, that is to say more than all the combined French stock (approximately 75).

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Second category of heavy equipment that Westerners have announced they want to provide: tanks and armored vehicles. The Czech Republic was the first to take the step of the tanks, at the beginning of April. Poland has since reported doing the same with, according to some estimates, several dozen tanks and armored personnel carriers delivered. Germany finally announced on April 26 the dispatch, in particular, of Gepard-type tanks, which should be taken from the stocks of German industry. The United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Australians joined in this movement, but with personnel carriers of various types, including mine-resistant ones.

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